WASHINGTON (Aug. 23)
The State Department made known today that an “informal agreement” has been reached with Saudi Arabia to indefinitely extend the right of the U.S. to use Dhahran Airbase, even though the formal lease expired early last month.
It is understood that the same conditions will apply until negotiations to renew the five-year lease are completed. The Dhahran airfield, with facilities for 1,500 United States airmen, will continue to bar U.S. Jewish servicemen from the base.
The State Department said that no formal diplomatic steps directed at ending Arab discriminatory practices against American Jews have been taken as yet to implement. Secretary Dulles recent pledge to seek an end to Arab bias against U.S. citizens.
It is understood that no U.S. diplomatic action in this respect will be taken until the Suez crisis is settled. rather than renegotiate the lease, to avoid Congressional attacks in an election year against acquiescing to Arab discrimination against American Jews.
Negotiations to renew the five-year old lease are now in their fourth month. A 30-day extension of the agreement has expired. But King Saud is reported to have extended indefinitely–although informally–the American right to operate and use the airfield until negotiations are completed. American officials are reported confident that the lease will be renewed, once monetary differences are worked out with the Saudis.